Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Monday. 26th.

Wednesday 28th.

Tuesday. 27th. CFA


Tuesday. 27th. CFA
Tuesday. 27th.

This morning after having gone through the customary portion, I went to the House of Representatives not with the expectation however, of meeting with any thing remarkable. Mr. McLane was delivering his reasons for the passage of the old affair concerning the roads and canals which I believed had been settled long ago.1 He is a sound man, and has some influence or had when the Congress was less brilliant. Not pleasant in his manner, a person will find matter but nothing to amuse in the process of acquiring it. He was not “metal so attractive” though as to keep me long here. Monsieur was at the House today, which is a very uncommon thing. There being a meeting of the sinking fund2 he always devotes a portion of his hours at the House which can be spent in no other way.

We came home and after dinner dressed ourselves for the ball, at Mr. Livingston’s.3 Madame being unwell did not go, the rest departed together. The ball was given to the bride who was there with Cornelia, Anne sick at home. Cornelia was the only girl I knew in the room and consequently my evening was not perfectly pleasant. I was much diverted with some sly remarks of Mrs. Brent concerning John, whom she appeared to consider a gone case; she also informed me that as she knew the symptoms, she certainly must be the best judge. This I allowed her. She is a very pleasant and ladylike woman, in my mind far superior to the common run here, but there is a little repelling stiffness which is disagreable. She deports herself very matronly.

Mr. Livingston’s good supper and Champagne Wine compensated fully for all my want of dancing, and after the ladies retired we formed a retired table very pleasantly. Blunt, Watkins, John and myself. Blunt, I have often mentioned and shall only say, I was better pleased with him than usual. Watkins is a very pleasant fellow indeed and full of life. After drinking a sufficit of what Blunt was pleased to call “Cider” and eating Canvass Backs we again went upstairs, and as I felt very much like dancing I was introduced to and danced with Miss Hamm of Alexandria. My head was turning very rapidly and I felt in extravagantly high spirits. I did nothing however which could in the least compromise my character. The only difficulty was that I could not plainly distinguish her questions, so that I had to answer at random, but it was with general success. She asked me my opinion 70of Miss Crowninshield and here I got into a difficulty for I did not speak in the highest terms of them and afterwards understood they are intimates from a boarding school. This one was a pleasant girl, with considerable vivacity—and probably made allowances for Cider. Watkins in dancing the reel was thrown down in elegant style and in attempting to recover himself drew up Miss Orr’s gown to a considerable height. On the whole, I had a delightful time and taking another glass of cider with Blunt we three got in to the Carriage and dropping him arrived safe at home. The family had gone long before.


Louis McLane (1786–1857), of Delaware, favored the bill to procure surveys and estimates of necessary roads and canals ( Annals of Congress , 18 Cong., 1 sess., p. 1217–1232).


The Commissioners of the Sinking Fund, who dealt with the funding of the national debt, were Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins, Attorney General William Wirt, JQA, Registrar of the Treasury Joseph Nourse, and one Marshall (JQA, Diary, 6 Feb. 1824). As a member of the commission JQA signed a resolution recommending the purchase of 7-percent stock according to law (same, 26, 27 Jan. 1824).


Robert LeRoy Livingston’s wedding party for Robert Brent and his wife (JQA, Diary, 27 Jan. 1824).